Why Myobrace is Awesome: The Three questions I Get the Most,and Why I love Airway-Centric Dentistry.
Gabriel T. Duncan, DDS
In my office I see quite a lot of airway and growth/development consults. Many of the questions I get are focused on Myobrace. I thought it would be a great idea to discuss the top three questions that I receive daily. It is my hope that answering these questions will be helpful not only in deciding if Myobrace will be a good option for you, but also to learn more about what we do with it and why it works.
The first question is: “Will going through the Myobrace program help me avoid braces?” Yes, it can and does, although not in the way many people imagine. The Myobrace appliance is not designed or intended to just go in and straighten the teeth, like braces will. While the Myobrace will cause straight teeth,this is not its primary purpose- but it is one of many great by-products of treatment. There are a variety of reasons why someone may choose to have braces. Orthodontics can help in several ways, most notably by straightening crooked teeth, creating an esthetic look and improve the mechanics of how the teeth fit together. In a large portion of cases, the conventional orthodontics route is taken because much of the facial growth has already occurred; and now we must “work with what we have” so to speak in terms of jaw development. So, this is where in some cases it is recommended that permanent teeth be extracted to create the space to straighten the remaining ones out. It is like trying to build a large house on asmall plot of land. If the house is the teeth and the jaw is the land that those teeth sit in, the amount of movement will be constrained by the size of the land. It is possible to expand the jaw after this to make more space, but this often requires surgery. Myobrace uses different, natural approach that is designed to guide jaw growth in an optima lway, usually starting at a younger age than when most orthodontic treatment begins-and to grow a child’s jaws their maximum size (the maximum size that their genetics will allow). We are learning that because of improper habits during the developmental years, jaw growth is slowed and compromised from reaching its full-size potential. These habits area significant part of the reason. When a patient uses myobrace optimally those habits will be corrected, new and better habits will develop, and the jaw will grow to its ideal size moving forward. Our bodies are designed so that our adult teeth (all 32 of them, third molars included) should fit in the jaws and the teeth should come in straight without braces being required. And if the patient decides to get orthodontics afterwards, it will be an easier, faster, and more relapse-free treatment for both the patient and the practitioner. I must stress this however: straight teeth, in and of itself, should not be our marker for success. Development of the best possible airway and breathing should be. I have said before that a healthy, large, patent airway is “the most important thing in this life”. That is a huge statement, but if you think about it, it is so true. And at its heart, that is what Myobrace does…it removes the barriers to proper airway growth. In this doctor’s opinion there can be no greater gift than the ability to breathe effortlessly, since this ability impacts all areas of life, without exception.
Going through the Myobrace program is not a passive experience; it is a highly active one: the supervising practitioner who is monitoring and tracking progress, the patient who must put in the time everyday and the whole family supporting the patient all have a role to play. It truly is a team effort over many months, with the results being well-worth it. This brings me to the second question I am frequently asked: “What will be the biggest predictor to success with Myobrace?” Without qualification the answer to this question is compliance and grit. Without a doubt, the most important component in the success of myobrace is compliance and consistently sticking with the program, to the letter. The follow-up question to this is then asked: “What will happen if we don’t wear the appliance and do the exercises consistently?” The answer to this is possibly a little progress, but not much. After implementing Myobrace for some time and working with numerous patients, I have seen the best results where the whole family gets engaged in the treatment. It is also so fun too because we get the chance to know the whole family supporting the patient in their journey.
The third most asked question is, “What is the length of treatment?” The treatment time can range from as little as 13 months to 24 months. The average is around 18 months in active treatment where the patient will need to visit (either in-person or virtually) with either myself or our myofunctional therapist. When active treatment is complete, it is fine to maintain on the last appliance until growing out of it or checking in periodically as needed. By this point the habits should be well-engrained and the growth should be on an optimized course.
I like to think of myself as being (or at least becoming) an Airway-Centric Dentist. I have been offering this treatment in my practice for some time now and I can say that it is the most gratifying thing I do. Here is why: I spend a ton of my time in practice trying to fix broken teeth. Fillings, crowns, extracting teeth, removing decay. I do this all day, every day. And I do enjoy helping people in this way. Yet what I really love is doing things to help prevent these problems in the first place; and to have more of an impact on someone other than “just the teeth and gums”.
My goal is to improve overall health; to help prevent systemic disease later in life, and to provide treatment for my patient that will have a positive impact long past their time with me. “We Build Airways” to help kids grow into healthy adults. It is my belief that healthy, happy adults will lead to healthy families. And in time these families will form healthy communities.